Today in Tech: HTC’s bolder approach to, well, everything

Also: Yahoo’s $30 million acquisition; BlackBerry’s mysterious million-smartphone partner. 

HTC’s marketing chief takes bolder approach [THE WALL STREET JOURNAL]

“We have a lot of innovations but we haven’t been loud enough,” said Mr. Ho, a Singaporean who is HTC’s third marketing chief in less than two years.  The new approach, he says, will be bolder.

Customers were treated to a sneak peek of the new strategy when HTC fielded teams to demo the One outside the venue of Samsung Electronics Co.’s Galaxy S 4 launch earlier this month. It also mounted an unusually aggressive Twitter campaign that mocked the S 4 as “#theNextBigFlop.” The Taiwanese smartphone maker had previously shied away from direct comparisons to competitors, preferring to focus on its own products’ features.

Yahoo paid $30 million in cash for 18 months of Summly’s founder’s time [ALL THINGS D]

What Yahoo is getting, though, is perhaps more valuable — the ability to put the fresh-faced D’Aloisio front and center of its noisy efforts to make consumers see Yahoo as a mobile-first company. That has been the goal of CEO Marissa Mayer, who has bought up a range of small mobile startups since she took over nine months ago and who has talked about the need for Yahoo to focus on the mobile arena above all.

Mayer met with D’Aloisio, said sources, although the deal was struck by voluble M&A head Jackie Reses.

Yahoo: The Marissa Mayer turnaround [MONDAY NOTE]

The changes have been met with intramural criticism, from charges of Google cronyism to moaning over her meddling with the hiring process (“Yahoo’s Mayer gets internal flak for more rigorous hiring“). The complainers might as well get used to it: Mayer knows who she’s competing against, she wants to win, and that means Yahoo! needs to attract Valley-class talent. If she can pull them from Google, even better. The insiders who complain to the media only advertise their fear — a bad idea — and unwittingly make the case for Mayer’s higher standards.

BlackBerry’s million-smartphone mystery partner: Brightstar [ALL THINGS D]

Who bought one million BlackBerry 10 devices?

We posed that question here earlier this month, following the announcement of the largest single handset purchase in BlackBerry’s history. And we answered it with a simple theory: An order so massive for new handsets running an unproven platform would never have been placed by a carrier. Only a big electronics distributor would take such a risk. One like Brightpoint, which has a long-standing relationship with BlackBerry, distributing its handsets throughout the world — particularly in emerging markets like Malaysia.

Turns out that theory was accurate. The order was placed by a wireless distributor, but not by Brightpoint. Research house Detwiler Fenton reports that the mysterious “established partner” responsible for the order was Brightpoint rival Brightstar. And sources familiar with the deal have confirmed this to All Things D, as well. “You’ve got the ‘Bright’ part right,” one source quipped. “But you’re a point off.”

Best Buy poised to ax its venture capital unit [STAR TRIBUNE]

Joly is cutting costs and redirecting Best Buy’s cash toward more immediate issues: rebooting store operations, matching competitors’ prices, and overhauling its inventory and digital operations. The company recently laid off 400 people at its corporate headquarters, the start of a campaign to reduce costs by $700 million over the next few years. Wall Street has praised Joly’s efforts as the company’s stock price has roughly doubled since December.

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